Despite one less live race day, and wet weather for over half of the live racing days, Pimlico ended its 2003 spring meet June 8 with a decrease of less than one percent in total handle from the same period in 2002. All-sources handle totaled $265.5 million compared to $266.9 million during the same period a year ago.
Full fields are expected when Colonial Downs opens its doors Friday. Colonial's 30-day meet runs through July 22nd on a Friday through Tuesday schedule with 1 p.m. post times on Saturday and Sunday and 5 p.m. post during the week. There is a special Thursday card on July 3.
Robert Baker, David Cornstein and William Mack's Proud Citizen, the runner-up to War Emblem in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, breezed five furlongs Monday in a quick :59.20 in his final prep for Saturday's Stephen Foster Handicap.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady may have earned a spot in the starting gate for Saturday's $300,000-added Fleur De Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs with a sharp five furlong work over the track on Monday.
Preakness (gr. I) runner-up Midway Road tuned-up for a scheduled run in the Ohio Derby (gr. II) on June 21 with a strong six-furlong work on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Less than 24 hours after Juddmonte Farm's homebred Empire Maker won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), owner Khalid Abdullah scored another classic double when homebred Nebraska Tornado won the Prix de Diane (Fr-I, French Oaks).
Private Steer's soft win in the $1 million (Australian funds) Stradbroke Handicap (Aust-I) on June 7 again underscored the long-term value of the recently deceased Danehill.
It was no great surprise that Half Hennessy supplied the first group I classic win for his sire in the $500,000 (Australian funds) Queensland Derby (Aust-I) on June 7. It was the manner in which he dispatched his 13 rivals that provided the shock.
The 53rd running of the Yasuda Memorial (Jpn-I) at Tokyo June 8 saw fourth-pick Agnes Digital back at the top after a stretch rally that put him over the line a neck ahead of Admire Max (Sunday Silence--Dyna Shoot, by Northern Taste) in record time.
Come By Chance Stable's heavily favored Too Late Now made every pole a winning one, but just barely, in capturing Sunday's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks at Woodbine.
Saturday's $200,000 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) contenders Cinema Paradisa, Princess V. and Santa Catarina turned in strong Southern California workouts on Sunday.
English import Storming Home, an impressive winner of the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap in his United States debut at Hollywood Park May 10, worked seven furlongs on turf in 1:29.20 Sunday.
Calkins Road, sidelined since winning the California Cup Classic at Santa Anita in November, is scheduled to return Saturday in the $400,000 Californian (gr. II) at Hollywood Park.
Jockey Ryan Fogelsonger captured another riding title as Pimlico's spring meeting came to an end on Sunday, finishing atop the standings for the fourth consecutive meet at the major Maryland tracks.
Pants N Kisses, ridden by Constant Montpellier, shocked a number of Queen's Plate candidates by charging down the stretch to win the $136,875 Victoria Park Stakes Sunday at Woodbine.
Gelding Bo Bo's Vice and filly Beautiful America captured their respective $250,000 divisions of Sunday's New York Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park.
A pair of possible contenders for Saturday's main event, the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), turned in sizzling works on Sunday at Churchill Downs.
Two major contenders for Saturday's $100,000-added Northern Dancer Stakes -- Lloyd Madison Farm's Champali and James McIngvale's During -- turned in sharp works on Sunday in preparation for the one-mile race.
Flatbird Stable's Shawklit Mint surprised her two opponents in Sunday's $136,500 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. III) at muddy Belmont Park with a front-running 1 3/4-length victory, the 4-year-old filly's fourth straight win this year.
The 1 1/2-hour Belmont Stakes telecast on NBC produced an overnight rating of 10.4, the highest for any horse race since the 1990 Kentucky Derby and the highest for a Belmont since 1987, when ratings were introduced. The overnight rating for the race exceeded overnight ratings for other major sporting events over the weekend.
Having just completed a very successful Belmont Stakes Day despite very unfavorable weather conditions, the New York Racing Association is looking forward to a potentially huge day Aug. 23 when the grade I Travers Stakes is run at Saratoga.
A single-day on-track Belmont Stakes day wagering record was established Saturday at Belmont Park before the second largest crowd in the track's history, 101,864, and steady rainfall for the 135th running of the Test of the Champion.
Thanks to a well-timed ride from Tyler Baze, Old Friends Inc.'s Quero Quero hit the front at just the correct moment to upset favored Atlantic Ocean by a neck in Saturday's $215,950 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Hollywood Park turf.
Juddmonte Farms' Toussaud, the 14-year-old daughter of El Gran Senor who produced Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, was honored as Broodmare of the Year by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association earlier this year.
Senor Swinger rallied for a 5 1/2 -length victory over Remind in Saturday's featured $220,600 Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Martin Schwartz's Bowman's Band, with Ramon Dominguez aboard, out dueled the 7-to-5 favorite Private Lap, with Anthony Black astride, in the $100,000 Brandywine Handicap at Delaware Park Saturday.
A cheery Bobby Frankel said Friday morning that Empire Maker covered his usual mile and quarter gallop and went to the starting gate for schooling as the son of Unbridled moved one day closer to Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
El Dorado Shooter gunned from his outside post position in Saturday's $142,500 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap (gr. III) with jockey Chad Schvaneveldt and the 6-year-old speedster was never threatened in an easy victory.
History was set at Belmont Park Saturday but it was not Funny Cide becoming a Triple Crown winner. Instead, it was trainer Bobby Frankel winning his first Triple Crown race when his Empire Maker won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Ten Most Wanted was second and Funny Cide third.
Stronach Stables' Winning Chance kept her race record perfect this year with a dominating performance at Woodbine in Saturday's featured $189,375 Ontario Matron Stakes, for fillies and mares over 1 1/6 miles.
Bobby Frankel ran one-two in the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (gr. I) Saturday at Belmont Park, with Denon holding off Requete in the 10-furlong turf race. Frankel sends out Empire Maker in the following race, the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Posse, closing ground with every stride, got by odds-on favorite Midas Eyes at the wire to take the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday. The 3-year-old Silver Deputy colt covered the seven furlongs over a sloppy track in a good 1:22.03.
Jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr. suffered an undetermined injury to his right foot and abrasions and bruises to his right shoulder after being thrown to the Arlington Park turf course when his mount, Naskramoon, broke down in the vicinity of the sixteenth pole in the fifth race Saturday.
One thing we know for sure, Mariensky likes the turf about as soft as it can get. Twice in a week, she has won graded stakes over a very soft Belmont Park turf course.
Perfect Drift, the third place finisher in the 2002 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), breezed an easy half-mile Saturday at Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville training center and trainer Murray Johnson said the Dynaformer gelding appears ready for a likely run in next Saturday's $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
Shake You Down continued to show an affinity for an off track, running fast fractions over a sloppy surface at Belmont Park to win the $190,000 True North Breeders' Cup (gr. II). It was the fourth straight win for Shake You Down since being claimed by trainer Scott Lake, the last two graded stakes victories.
A massive public gamble was landed Saturday at Britain's Epsom Downs when Kris Kin came late to secure a decisive victory in the Vodafone Epsom Derby (Eng-I). Owner Saeed Suhail had paid £90,000 to supplement Kris Kin for the race, even though he had been entered originally as a yearling at a cost of only £310 and subsequently scratched last autumn.
Shine Again, who has grinded her way to earnings of more than $1 million in 29 starts, gets some respect Sunday as the favorite in Belmont Park's $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II). The Vagrancy tops a card that includes a pair of New York Stallion series stakes.
Ten Most Wanted, ninth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, was schooled in the paddock and at the starting gate Friday morning before galloping a mile and a quarter on the main track.
Trainer Bobby Frankel has informed Churchill Downs racing officials that Humana Distaff (gr. I) winner Sightseek will run in the $300,000-added Fleur De Lis (gr. II) on June 14.
In his emergence as one of the world's top turf sprinters, Mike Cloonan's Morluc has taken trainer Randy Morse to places he had never seen before. Next stop for Morse and Morluc will be England for the famed Royal Ascot meet.
When jockey John McKee, the 21-year-old Ohio native climbed aboard his first mount on Friday, he did so as a journeyman rider. McKee's days of riding as an apprentice jockey ended on Thursday with 274 career wins under his belt.
Veteran Newmarket trainer Clive Brittain landed his first Vodafone Coronation Cup (Eng-I) when 5-year-old Warrsan swooped to a half-length victory from Highest and Black Sam Bellamy Saturday at Epsom Downs.
Bird Town made the lead as they came out of the turn, and then held off a late charge from Lady Tak to win the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) Friday at Belmont Park. It was the second straight grade I win for Bird Town, who won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) the day before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Chapel Royal showed the brilliance that may help him earn back his record purchase price, the $1.2 million juvenile easily winning the Flash Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park Friday over just three opponents.
Truckle Feature, a Grade 1-placed 2-year-old last year for owner James McIngvale, was euthanized after suffering a leg injury during a five-furlong breeze at Santa Anita Friday.
Will Farish, the American ambassador to Britain and owner of Lane's End Farm, is celebrating his first British Classic win after his homebred Casual Look, a 10-1 shot, scored a defiant victory in the Vodafone Oaks (Eng-I) at Epsom Downs on Friday.
Four graded stakes will play the supporting role to the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park Saturday. Post time for the True North, the first graded stakes race on the day, is 3:52 p.m (EDT).
Frank Alexander's Windsor Castle, the recent winner of the William D. Schaffer Handicap (gr. III), tops a field of seven for the one-mile $100,000 Brandywine Handicap at Delaware Park Saturday.
Northern California's top two speedsters, Presidio Heights and El Dorado Shooter, will meet in Saturday's $150,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. III).
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